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J Neurosci. 2008 May 28;28(22):5623-30. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1309-08.2008.

Dissociating the role of the orbitofrontal cortex and the striatum in the computation of goal values and prediction errors.

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Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA.


To make sound economic decisions, the brain needs to compute several different value-related signals. These include goal values that measure the predicted reward that results from the outcome generated by each of the actions under consideration, decision values that measure the net value of taking the different actions, and prediction errors that measure deviations from individuals' previous reward expectations. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging and a novel decision-making paradigm to dissociate the neural basis of these three computations. Our results show that they are supported by different neural substrates: goal values are correlated with activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex, decision values are correlated with activity in the central orbitofrontal cortex, and prediction errors are correlated with activity in the ventral striatum.

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